The steps you do following a vehicle accident can reduce injuries, save your life and others, ensure settlement on your insurance claims, and keep you out of trouble legally. However, dealing with car accidents can be stressful and you may forget what you must do at the scene.
Sadly, car accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. You must be prepared when the time comes. Download, make a checklist, print, and keep in your vehicle this quick guide on dealing with auto accidents.
First of all, take a deep breath so you can deal with the situation calmly. The following are things you need to consider after the vehicle accident:
- Stay safe: Evaluate the situation and ensure your immediate safety. If possible, move your car to the other side. Otherwise, stay in your car, check yourself and other passengers for any further risk of injuries.
- Don’t leave the scene: Doing this can be taken greatly against you. You don’t want to be liable for a hit and run.
- Call local authorities: Report the accident and seek medical help. If you’re unable to call, look for any witnesses around and ask them to call 911 for you.
- Wait for authorities: Follow any instructions given to you by the police and wait for help to arrive.
- Call insurance company: Tell your agent what happened and follow their instructions as well. If possible, request for a tow, take note of the tow company, and know the location where your vehicle was towed.
- Gather information at the scene
The following are steps you must take during the scene of the accident:
- Exchange information: Be polite in asking the other parties’ names, contact details, and car insurance information. This is very crucial especially if the other driver doesn’t have insurance information. You can also give them the same information if they ask for it.
- Collect witnesses: Get the names and contact details of any witnesses. Also, ask them if they’re willing to make a statement.
- Only provide the following information: Your name, vehicle manufacturer, year, model, color, plate number. You can also provide them your insurance company including your agent’s name and contact number, and policy number.
- Don’t provide the following: Never allow your registration or licensed to be photographed. Also, don’t give your address to the other parties involved and witnesses.
It’s crucial to document and gather evidence at the scene. Take photos or videos of the following:
- License plates of vehicles involved
- Vehicle damages
- Damage to other properties
- Factors that may have caused the accident e.g. obscured traffic signs
- Skid marks, accident debris, fallen branches, etc.
- Street signs, landmarks that can identify the location of the accident
- Traffic and weather conditions
- Police and emergency help at the scene
Acquire a copy of the police reports to help you in settling your claims. Moreover, follow instructions from your insurance agent.
- Do your part in making a report: Include details such as the names of the parties involved, police officers at the scene, medical members who came to your aid, and witnesses.
- Insurance details: Note the date, time, names of insurance agent, and a brief description of your conversation.
- Keep documents: Gather all your receipts of your medical expenses, lost wages, and repair costs. This can help you in your insurance and legal claims.
Seek help from a car accident lawyer in the event that you want to file legal claims against the other driver. He/she can help remind you of your rights. Make an appointment with an attorney and bring all of your documents concerning the auto accident.
Keep in mind those steps you must do when dealing with auto accidents. Brauns Law, PC can help you on any legal claims. You may be eligible to compensation for your lost wages, personal damage, and medical expenses.